All posts tagged: 2022

How to Slaughter

By SHAELIN BISHOP

My sister used to make me watch her slaughter rabbits, until I could observe without crying. I was eleven; she was thirteen. She’d carry one up the bluff behind our house each afternoon, hind legs noosed in her grip, then kneel in the scrub grass and order that I watch her wishbone their necks. The sound of it—that mucusy snap—found me when doors slammed, when resin popped inside the pines. My eyes glassed so I watched the slaughter through a kaleidoscope, and she’d tell me that if this was enough to break me, I had no chance in this world.

The next day, another rabbit. Another. Another. This was how she’d make me strong. She was skinning me of my softness. Peeling girlhood from girl.

What I feared most was the day she’d hold a knife out to me in one hand and a rabbit in the other and demand I slot blade into animal. I could not do jigsaw puzzles because it conjured this inevitability. I could not peel carrots. But she never did, perhaps so I would always need her.

How to Slaughter
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Weekly Writes Summer 2022: Accountable You

Signups for Weekly Writes Summer 2022 have now closed. If you’d like to hear about our next round of Weekly Writes, please register your interest here.


Weekly Writes is a ten-week program designed to help you create original place-based writing, beginning July 18.

We’re offering both poetry AND prose, in two separate programs. What do you want to prioritize this summer? Pick the program, sharpen your pencils, and get ready for a weekly dose of writing inspiration (and accountability) in your inbox!
    

hands writing w coffee stock image

Weekly Writes Summer 2022: Accountable You
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Words We Use to Talk About Home: An Interview with Abeer Khshiboon, author of “The Stranger”

ABEER KHSHIBOON interviewed by NASHWA GOWANLOCK

 

headshot of Abeer Kshiboon

Abeer Khshiboon’s short story, “The Stranger” is featured in Issue 23’s portfolio of stories from Palestine. Here, Abeer and translator Nashwa Gowanlock discuss the story’s inspiration and the context in which its events unfold.

Words We Use to Talk About Home: An Interview with Abeer Khshiboon, author of “The Stranger”
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Podcast: Adrienne G. Perry on “Flashé Sur Moi”

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Transcript: Adrienne G. Perry Podcast.

Adrienne G. Perry speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her essay “Flashé Sur Moi,” which appears in The Common’s new spring issue. Adrienne talks about the questions that inspired this essay: questions about memory and friendship and coming of age, questions about what it means to desire someone and be desired, and what we do to appear desirable to others. She also discusses her approach to teaching creative writing, her interest in writing about place, and her current works-in-progress.

Image of Adrienne G. Perry's headshot and The Common's Issue 23 cover (toast on turquoise background).

Podcast: Adrienne G. Perry on “Flashé Sur Moi”
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A Road, the Sun

By CAROLYN KUEBLER

 

white mailbox on the side of a road

 

Ashfield, Massachusetts

 

She remembers a road that she walked along. Something about joy, maybe, something about light. It was her own lightness, or maybe it was the road’s. She walked it more than once, that week in September, a year past. There were rock walls fringed with pale asters. Tiny white butterflies hovered in sunlight, and the hills were green. That’s all that remained. A year ago, and it has faded.

A Road, the Sun
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Friday Reads: June 2022

Curated by ELLY HONG

In this round of Friday Reads, we hear from two poets whose work was featured in Issue 23 of The Common. Read on for mini reviews of an imaginative and timely poetry collection and essays on the transportive power of that genre.

 

Friday Reads: June 2022
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Podcast: Cheryl Collins Isaac on “Spin”

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Listen on Apple Podcasts.

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Listen on Spotify.

Transcript: Cheryl Collins Issac Podcast.

Cheryl Collins Isaac speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about her story “Spin,” which appears in The Common’s new spring issue. “Spin” is about two Liberian immigrants making a new life in Appalachia. In this conversation, Cheryl talks about the inspiration behind this story: writing from music and toward beautiful, sensual language. She also discusses Liberia’s interesting cultural history, her writing and revision process, and what it’s like to do a writing residency in Edith Wharton’s bedroom.

Image of Cheryl Collins's headshot and the Issue 23 cover (piece of toast on turquoise background)

Podcast: Cheryl Collins Isaac on “Spin”
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May 2022 Poetry Feature

New poems from our contributors AKWE AMOSU, JUDITH BAUMEL, and ELIZABETH METZGER

 

Table of Contents:

            Akwe Amosu  |  New citizen

            Judith Baumel  |  Irij

            Elizabeth Metzger  |  Talking to Jean about Love

                                            |  Talking to Jean about Love II

May 2022 Poetry Feature
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Two Poems by Alejandra Pizarnik

Poems by ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK

Translated from the Spanish by ILAN STAVANS

Image of shadows of a fern and other plants reflecting against the background of tree bark in golden hour sunlight.

Mexico City, Mexico

Translator’s Note

Translation is home. Whenever I travel, I seek it either by reading translations, or by translating as a grounding exercise. Lately I have been translating into English poems from Jewish Latin American poets, specifically works by conversos or those written in Yiddish and Ladino by immigrants and their offspring. And—in a room of her own—Alejandra Pizarnik, whose life makes me think of Emily Dickinson. I recreated these two poems while visiting my mother, who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s. Pizarnik distills the fibers of existence so as to reveal the madness that palpitates underneath. Her poetry is contagious. The toughest part is to convey her silences. I wish I had met her.

—Ilan Stavans

Two Poems by Alejandra Pizarnik
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